Senator David Gowan is the Recipient of the 2023 AZBio Public Service Award

For his vision and commitment to helping Arizona become home to a world class health innovation sector, Senator David Gowan  is being honored with the 2023 AZBio Public Service Award.

Senator David Gowan

Creating A Catalyst for Growth

Arizona’s Bioscience Roadmap was turning 20 and Arizona’s health innovation leaders were reviewing past performance and looking at where the state’s greatest potential for growth. Based on the data, three things needed to happen for Arizona’s health innovation sector to double its economic impact of $38.54 billion: support its entrepreneurs; prepare its workforce; and increase levels of early-stage investment into high potential life science startups.

Based on a three-year best practices study that looked at programs that were successfully accelerating health innovation sectors nationally and internationally, the team developed a business plan. They also needed a champion at the Arizona legislature.

David Gowan was first elected to the Arizona House of Representatives in 2009. During the 2015-2017 legislative session, he served as the 52nd Speaker of the House. He was elected to the Arizona State Senate in 2018 and reelected in 2020 and 2022.

Senator David Gowan was chairman of the Senate Appropriations committee.  He and his wife Jessie are longtime residents of Southern Arizona where they raised two sons.  A proud graduate of the University of Arizona, he was actively engaged in supporting the work of researchers and educators across the state, and had a reputation as a visionary, strategic leader who was passionately committed to serving the people of Arizona.

Senator Gowan carefully reviewed the data and the plan then engaged with legislative counsel and the State Treasurer’s Office to develop the legislation that would establish the Arizona Health Innovation Trust Fund.

Established in 2022, the Arizona Health Innovation Trust Fund (A.R.S. 41-1770) was created with the State Treasurer as  trustee.   The trust fund is a permanent endowment fund that consists of monies appropriated by the legislature, earnings from the fund and gifts or grants donated or given to the fund.  The funds are invested and, upon maturity, the state treasurer annually allocates four percent of the monies in the trust fund to a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that will provide entrepreneurial education, mentoring and support to persons in the health innovation and health care delivery sectors in Arizona; provide workforce development programs designed to support the talent requirements of employers in Arizona’s health innovation and health care delivery sectors; and provide programs that support the development and commercialization of health innovation by businesses that are based in our state and that employ not more than one hundred employees. Each year, the charitable organization submits a report as prescribed by the law to Arizona’s executive and legislative leaders. The legislature also allocated $100,000 to the state treasurer’s budget to establish the fund.

Once the law became effective, the Arizona State Treasurer’s Office followed its process to select the organization that would work with ASTO and receive future distributions from the trust.  On December 29, 2022, a contract was signed with the Opportunity Through Entrepreneurship Foundation to receive the distributions from the trust and deliver the services required in the statute as part of its AZAdvances initiative.

In 2023, Senator T.J. Shope sponsored and Senator Gowan co-sponsored SB1084 requesting $200 Million be deposited into the trust fund.  While funding was not included in Arizona’s FY24 budget, discussions are ongoing with public and private sources on how to best grow the trust to its $200 million goal as soon as possible.

“For his vision and commitment to helping Arizona become home to a world class health innovation sector, Senator David Gowan  is being honored with the 2023 AZBio Public Service Award,” stated Joan Koerber-Walker, president & CEO of the Arizona Bioindustry Association, Inc. 

About The Arizona Bioindustry Association, Inc. (AZBio)

For 20 years, the Arizona Bioindustry Association has supported life science innovation and life science innovators in Arizona. A key component in Arizona’s life science ecosystem, AZBio is the only statewide organization exclusively focused on Arizona’s bioscience and medical technology industry. AZBio membership includes patient advocacy organizations, life science innovators, educators, healthcare partners, and leading business organizations. AZBio and its members work to advance health innovation and to ensure that the value delivered by our community’s life-changing and lifesaving innovations benefits people in Arizona and around the world. For more information on AZBio, visit 

For more information on the AZBio Awards, visit

AZBio Media Contact:
Joan Koerber-Walker 480-332-9636

Posted in AZBio News.